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|Size||5.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2000 items)|
|Abstract||The DeRosset family descended from French Huguenot Armand John DeRosset, who immigrated to the American colonies in the 1730s and settled in Wilmington, N.C., where four generations of DeRossets worked as physicians and merchants. Family members included Armand John DeRosset (1767-1859) and his wife Catherine Fullerton DeRosset (1773-1837) and children Moses John (1796-1826), Catherine Fullerton Kennedy (1800-1889), Eliza Ann (1802-1888), Magdalen Mary (1806-1850), and Mary Jane Curtis (1813-1903). Also included were Armand John DeRosset (1807-1897), his wife Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset (1812-1876), and their children, Katherine Douglas Meares (1830-1914) and Louis Henry (1840-1875) and Louis's wife Marie Trapier Finley DeRosset (1844-1870) and daughter Gabrielle de Gondin Waddell (b. 1863). The collection includes DeRosset family papers, chiefly 1821-1877, relating to family life and social, religious, political, and military activities of DeRossets in Wilmington and Hillsborough, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; New York, N.Y.; and other locations. Included is correspondence of several generations of DeRosset women, documenting the education of children, family health, fashion, social events, religious opinions, and household problems. Other correspondence relates to mercantile partnerships in Wilmington and New York City; family members' relocation to England because of interests in the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road after the American Civil War; the family rice plantation in Brunswick County, N.C.; and slaves in North Carolina and South Carolina. Civil War era letters describe hardships on the homefront and shipping goods from Bermuda through the Union blockade of Wilmington. Included are some letters written by slaves, some of which describe the yellow fever epidemic of 1862. Some Reconstruction era letters discuss activities of former DeRosset slaves. Also included is correspondence with British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who was a family friend. Financial and legal materials include papers documenting land transactions; papers relating to slave sales and a volume listing births and deaths of DeRosset slaves, 1770-1854; wills and estate papers; and military commissions. Of special interest are a group of French documents, including a 1671 marriage contract and an 1817 deed of emancipation for a Charleston, S.C., slave. Other materials include records, 1801-1806, of the Nine-Penny Whist Club of Wilmington; a Civil War narrative describing running the Wilmington blockade; scattered diaries of DeRosset women; and materials relating to the history of Saint James Episcopal Church, Wilmington. The Addition of 2007 consists of Moses John DeRosset's travel diary documenting a trip to western Europe in 1854; Moses John DeRosset's autograph album containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates, 1855-1863; Adelaide S. Meares's autograph album containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates at the Patapsco Female Institute in Maryland; diplomas and certificates, 1850s-1870s.|
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The DeRosset family was established in North Carolina in the 1730s with the immigration of physician Armand John DeRosset, a French Huguenot. Four generations of the men worked as physicians and merchants in Wilmington, N.C.
Armand John DeRosset Sr. (1767-1859) was raised by his stepfather, Adam Boyd. He attended schools in Hillsborough before enrolling in Nassau Hall (now Princeton University) and studying medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to Wilmington and became a prominent citizen. He married first Mary Fullerton (d. 1797) and with her had three daughters who died young and one son, Moses John DeRosset (1796-1826), who died shortly after completing his medical education. In 1797, Armand married Mary's sister, Catherine Fullerton (1773-1837), and had with her five children: Catherine (1800-1889); Eliza Ann (1802-1888), later known as "Aunt Liz"; Magdalen Mary (1806-1850); Armand John, Jr. (1807-1897); and Mary Jane (1813-1903). Catherine DeRosset married the Reverend William Kennedy (d. 1840), moved to Columbia, S.C., and became step mother to his children. Mary Jane married Moses Ashley Curtis (1808-1872), moved to Hillsborough, N.C., and had ten children, five of whom lived to maturity. Eliza Ann and Magdalen never married.
Armand John DeRosset Jr. became a physician and businessman in Wilmington. He established a mercantile partnership, with a branch office in New York City, and conducted business on behalf of the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road in the United States and Great Britain. He married first Eliza Jane Lord (1812-1876), and had with her eleven children: Katherine (1830-1914); William Lord (1832-1910); Eliza Hill (Lossie) (b. 1843); Alice (1836-1897); Moses John (1838-1881); Louis Henry (1840-1875); Armand Lamar (b. 1842); Edward Swift (1844-1861); Thomas Childs (1845-1878), frequently referred to as "the Colonel"; Annie (1848-1855); and Frederic Ancrum (b. 1856). He married second Catherine (Cattie) Kennedy (1830-1894), his sister Catherine DeRosset Kennedy's step-daughter.
The children of Armand and Eliza DeRosset married as follows. Katherine Douglas DeRosset married Gaston Meares (1821-1862) and had six children, including Magdalen DeRosset (1851-1855), Gaston (1852-1861), Armand DeRosset (b. 1854), Eliza Lord (1856-1858), Richard Ashe (b. 1858), and Louis Henry (b. 1860). William Lord DeRosset married first Caroline Horatio Nelson (d. 1861) and had with her two children, and married second Elizabeth Simpson Nash (b. 1840), with whom he had six more. Alice London DeRosset married Graham Daves (1836-1902), no issue. Moses John DeRosset married Adelaide Savage Meares (1839-1897) and had many children. Eliza Hall DeRosset married Charles D. Myers (1834-1892) and had many children. Louis Henry DeRosset married first Marie Trapier Finley (1844-1870), with whom he had a daughter, Gabrielle DeRosset (b. 1863), who later married Alfred Moore Waddell; and second Jane Dickinson Cowan (b. 1848), with whom he had two children, including a daughter Katharine (b. 1875). Armand Lamar DeRosset married Tallulah Ellen Low (1845-1901) and had many children. Frederic Ancrum DeRosset married Mary Williams Green (b. 1859) and had no children. Thomas Childs DeRosset was unmarried at the time of his death. Edward Swift DeRosset and Annie DeRosset died in childhood.Back to Top
The collection includes DeRosset family papers, chiefly 1821-1877, relating to family life and social, religious, political, and military activities of DeRossets in Wilmington, N.C., and Hillsborough, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; New York, N.Y.; and other locations. Included is correspondence of several generations of DeRosset women, documenting the education of children, family health, fashion, social events, religious opinions, and household problems. Other correspondence relates to mercantile partnerships in Wilmington and New York City; family members' relocation to England because of interests in the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road after the American Civil War;; the family rice plantation in Brunswick County, N.C.; and slaves in North Carolina and South Carolina. Civil War era letters describe hardships on the homefront and shipping goods from Bermuda through the Union blockade of Wilmington. Included are some letters written by slaves, some of which describe the yellow fever epidemic of 1862. Some Reconstruction era letters discuss activities of former DeRosset slaves. Also included is correspondence with British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who was a family friend. Financial and legal materials include papers documenting land transactions; papers relating to slave sales and a volume listing births and deaths of DeRosset slaves, 1770-1854; wills and estate papers; and military commissions. Of special interest are a group of French documents, including a 1671 marriage contract and an 1817 deed of emancipation for a Charleston, S.C., slave. Other materials include records, 1801-1806, of the Nine-Penny Whist Club of Wilmington; a Civil War narrative describing running the Wilmington blockade; scattered diaries of DeRosset women; and materials relating to the history of Saint James Episcopal Church, Wilmington. The Addition of 2007 consists of one travel diary belonging to Moses John DeRosset, documenting a trip to western Europe, July-August 1854, and including a map of Switzerland; an autograph album belonging to Moses John DeRosset containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates, 1855-1863; an autograph album belonging to Adelaide S. Meares containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates at the Patapsco Female Institute in Maryland; a diploma from the Patapsco Female Institute belonging to Adelaide S. Meares, 1856; a certificate of honor from the University of the City of New York belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1859; two medical degrees belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1860; a medical certificate from the state of North Carolina belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1876; and a certificate of membership from the Medical Society of the City and County of New York belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1878.Back to Top
Chiefly personal family correspondence of DeRosset family women. Their letters to each other are generally long and informative, containing much information about life in Wilmington and other towns in North and South Carolina. Their primary topics of conversation included the education of children, family health, fashion, household matters, social events, and religious opinions, but extended to a wide variety of other matters.
There is little information about the medical practices of DeRosset physicians, but the women's letters reveal their own considerable medical knowledge. Family correspondence contains scattered information about business interests including mercantile partnerships in Wilmington and New York, railroad interests, the family rice plantation, and other concerns.
Correspondence of four generations of the DeRosset family, particularly the families of Armand John DeRosset (1767-1859), his son Armand John, Jr. (1807-1897), his granddaughter Katherine DeRosset Meares (1830-1914) and grandson Louis Henry DeRosset (1840-1875), and his great granddaughter, Gabrielle DeRosset Waddell (b. 1863).
Chiefly letters of Adam Boyd, step father of Armand John DeRosset Sr. (1767-1859). Boyd was forced to leave Wilmington because of his debilitating asthma and wrote long, informative letters from Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn., and Natchez, Miss. Also included is correspondence of Armand J. DeRosset Sr. (1767-1859), and his second wife, Catherine Fullerton (1773-1837), including letters from Armand's son, Moses John, while a student at the University of North Carolina.
Scattered letters of Armand John DeRosset Sr. (1767-1859), who wrote to his wife and children during occasional business trips, but chiefly letters exchanged between female members of the DeRosset and related families. Major correspondents include Catherine Fullerton DeRosset (1773-1837), her unmarried daughters, Eliza Ann (1802-1888) and Magdalen DeRosset (1806-1850), and their married sisters Catherine DeRosset Kennedy (1800-1889) of Columbia, S.C., and Mary Jane DeRosset Curtis (1813-1903) of Hillsborough, N.C. Much correspondence during this period relates to the family of Armand John DeRosset Jr. (1807-1897), and his wife Eliza Jane Lord (1812-1876).
Devout Episcopalians, the women wrote letters are full of religious opinions and information about church politics and personalities, especially regarding Saint James Church in Wilmington. Other topics of discussion include family and household concerns, sickness, and the education of children. In addition to information about social and daily life in Wilmington, many letters contain information about the small town of Smithville (now Southport) in Brunswick County, N.C., where the DeRossets owned a rice plantation. Catherine DeRosset Kennedy (1800-1889) frequently wrote her mother and sisters from Charleston and Columbia, S.C., about her life as the wife of the Reverend William Kennedy (d. 1840) and as step mother to his children. The Kennedy family had many financial difficulties and, after Kennedy's death, Katherine moved to Wilmington with her ten-year-old step daughter Catherine. Catherine (Cattie) became the second wife of Armand J. DeRosset Jr. sometime after 1876.
During the 1840s, letters relate chiefly to Katherine (Kate) Douglas DeRosset (1830-1914). Correspondence between Kate and her parents, Armand and Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset, documents her education at schools in Boston and New York, and at Saint Mary's in Raleigh, N.C. In 1849, a few letters to Gaston Meares, Kate's fiancee, reveal his business concerns. For example, a letter of 13 February 1849 refers to a "sea expedition" that Meares was apparently planning with Armand J. DeRosset Jr. to go to the California gold fields. Other business references disclose that Armand John DeRosset Jr. traveled to England on business for the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road.
Of particular note are scattered letters from friends and family about westward migration, including one from Catherine Childs Woodbury, 7 September 1847, about her father building forts on the Oregon Trail, and another from Julia Ann Eccleston, 5 March 1849, about her husband's murder by Indians and her hard life on the frontier in Bastrop, Tex.
Chiefly correspondence documenting the married life of Katherine Douglas DeRosset (1830-1914), who married Gaston Meares in 1850. Early in their marriage letters show that she lived at the Smithville plantation while he travelled on business. In 1854, letters document Meares's successful campaign for the state assembly; he was elected representative of Brunswick County, N.C. His letters from Raleigh, never lengthy, make some mention of legislative business, his affairs in Brunswick County, and other matters.
In 1855, Meares moved his family to New York City, where he entered into the mercantile partnership of [Barron C.] Watson and Meares. This marks the beginning of an extensive correspondence between Katherine DeRosset Meares and her mother, Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset. Kate's letters are filled with details of her daily activities: the births and deaths of her children (one daughter died of diphtheria, another of whooping cough); house hunting in Brooklyn and other unaccustomed decisions that she feared would make her "a strong minded woman"; housekeeping problems; shopping in the city; and Yankee servants. In turn, Eliza DeRosset wrote her daughter from Wilmington about family and town news; sewing; illness; attempts to hire a white servant, 23 September 1857; hiring an Irish servant, 1 October 1857; visiting and parties in and around Wilmington; excursions to the beach; and the activities of Saint James Episcopal Church. By the late 1850s, Eliza's letters are filled with expressions of loneliness and depression in her large house, nearly empty after the departure of most of her eleven children. Her letters also display her knowledge and application of medical remedies. She described illnesses and deaths in Wilmington in detail and prescribed treatments herself, 8 February 1859.
Scattered letters document the education of Kate's younger brothers in Geneva, Switzerland. William Lord DeRosset wrote from the University of North Carolina in 1854.
Also during this period, letters show that Armand John DeRosset Jr. continued to travel on railroad business, investigated copper and gold mines in North Carolina, and conducted other business in South Carolina and Boston. There is some documentation about the New York office of Brown and DeRosset, a mercantile firm based in Wilmington. Family letters document the death of Armand J. DeRosset Sr. in 1859. Letters of 1860 reflect growing tension in Wilmington as the nation moved toward war. On 9 December, Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset wrote that the town was on alert and its citizens preparing for its defense.
Chiefly Civil War correspondence documenting the Confederate sympathies of the DeRosset family, and their efforts to stay out of the way of the clashing armies. When the war started, Armand and Eliza Lord DeRosset were in New York City visiting Kate. Letters indicate that the Armand DeRosset and Gaston Meares families moved temporarily to Hillsborough. By 1862, the Armand DeRossets had returned to Wilmington, and Eliza's letters document her work with the Wayside Hospital at that place. After a yellow fever epidemic in 1863, they rented a house in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Armand traveled to Wilmington occasionally to conduct business.
Catherine (Cattie) Kennedy became a significant correspondent during this period, writing her stepmother from Columbia, S.C., about such things as housekeeping problems; nursing her sick brothers (who eventually died of tuberculosis); high prices and shortages of food, clothing, and other supplies; and the hiring out of slaves. Also among the correspondents during this period are the elderly DeRosset sisters, Eliza Anne in Hillsborough and Kate in Wilmington.
Correspondence is chiefly among DeRosset family women, who discuss their own experiences as war refugees and housekeepers in an economy of scarcity. Their letters also contain strong evidence of their Confederate sympathies and many references to the military service of male relatives, particularly Gaston Meares, who was killed at the Battle of Malvern Hill, 1 July 1862. In 1863, Kate Meares settled in Chapel Hill and briefly taught school. She received letters from Northern friends who sympathized with the Southern war effort.
Letters show that for a short time in November 1861 Kate Kennedy worked at the military hospital in Petersburg, Va. Also of interest are letters from Alice DeRosset Daves (1836-1897), showing that she traveled with her husband, Graham Daves (1836-1902) in Virginia and North Carolina while he took part in various military engagements.
As the war dragged on, family letters are filled with discussions of hardships encountered by refugees in Wilmington, Richmond, and Columbia. Toward the end of 1864, the focus of correspondence shifts toward Louis Henry DeRosset (1840-1875) and his wife Marie Finley DeRosset (1844-1870). In that year, the couple took up residence with their baby daughter, Gabrielle, in Hamilton, Bermuda. Letters between Armand and Louis show that Louis supplied goods to the DeRosset commission firm in Wilmington by running the blockade from Bermuda.
Of particular note during this period are several letters written to refugee DeRossets by their slaves in Wilmington. Letters describe the health and welfare of the enslaved people left behind, especially the yellow fever epidemic of 1862; the need for clothing for an upcoming wedding; mistreatment of enslaved people who had been hired out; and faith in God.
Folder 54 includes a letter, 10 June 1862, from William Henry Thurber, an enslaved person in Wilmington, N.C., to refugee DeRosset family members, in which he sent good wishes and greetings to family and expressed his faith in God.
Folder 55 includes two letters, 3 October 1862 and 23 October 1862, by William Henry Thurber, and one, 3 October 1863, by Bella DeRosset, who also was an enslaved person writing from Wilmington, N.C., to refugee DeRosset family members. Thurber and DeRosset sent good wishes and reported on a spreading yellow fever epidemic and mistreatment of Kitty Ann, an enslaved woman who had been hired out.
Folder 56 includes a letter, 25 March 1863, from "Jimmy," an enslaved person hired out to work in an office, to his mistress, "Miss Lizzie," in which he reported that he had been granted permission to marry and asked for money so that he might get something to wear at the wedding.
Folder 58 includes a letter, August 1863, from Daniel B. Hanes (?), an enslaved person, who reported on the health of other enslaved people, expressed gratefulness to his master for removing him from an unsatisfactory work arangement where he had been hired out, and asked how he would go about sending money.
Correspondence of Louis Henry and Marie Finley DeRosset, chiefly documenting their sojourn in England. Immediately after the war, they moved to England with their daughter, Gabrielle, living first in London and later in Liverpool. Louis had many employment problems, and the family seems to have had continual financial difficulties. In spite of this, correspondence shows that the DeRossets enjoyed the society of the British upper class, including several members of the nobility. Among their friends was Lord Edward Bulwer Lytton, whose estate they visited on several occasions (see also series 1.2).
Letters to Louis and Marie from family members in Wilmington contain details about Reconstruction, activities of freed slaves in the area, Episcopal Church affairs, and difficulties relating to their rice plantation. On 18 May 1865, Kate Meares discussed the former DeRosset slave, Louisa, who was attending school in Wilmington. The activities of other former DeRosset slaves are frequent subjects of correspondence. Letters between Armand and Louis document the efforts of father and son to establish trade connections between Liverpool, where Louis apparently worked for a shipping company, and Wilmington. Letters show that Armand's trip to England on behalf of the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road failed to produce needed investment, and resulted in DeRosset's disassociation with this company. Along with family letters from the states, the Louis DeRossets received letters and invitations from British friends. There are descriptive letters from Marie about the countryside of Cross Maglen, County Armagh, Ireland, where she visited for health reasons in 1865.
The DeRossets were neighbors of the Jefferson Davis family in London, and when Marie died in 1870 of an overdose of laudanum, Varina Davis volunteered to take Gabrielle to live with the family in Wilmington. However, to escape his mounting debts, Louis took the child himself in May of 1870. Louis left Gabrielle with her grandparents and obtained a clerking position in New York. He lost this job in 1871 and returned to Wilmington.
Chiefly correspondence of Gabrielle DeRosset Waddell. Her father, Louis, was plagued by business failure until his death in 1875. Correspondence during this period is scattered with the exception of 1894-1895. During that period, Armand John DeRosset Jr. was receiving treatment at the Post Graduate Hospital in New York City. Gabrielle DeRosset visited her grandfather Armand every day and wrote frequent letters to her aunts, Alice Daves and Kate Meares in Wilmington. In 1896, Gabrielle married Alfred Moore Waddell. Twentieth-century letters chiefly document her interest in genealogy, her membership in the Colonial Dames, and her other historical research interests. Letters show that Gabrielle was retained in 1919 to write the history of Saint James Episcopal Church in Wilmington.
Lettercopy books containing business letters of Armand DeRosset Jr. documenting his efforts on behalf of the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road, his mercantile concerns, and other business matters. Copies of his letters document his business connections in Wilmington, New York, and London, and include letters to his father.
Louis Henry DeRosset's letters were written from New York, Wilmington, and Galveston and Austin, Tex., chiefly to business firms about shipping, steamer lines, cotton cargoes, and progress in getting a charter from the Texas state legislature. Also included are letters to Lord Bulwer-Lytton, and others regarding arrangements for an American production of one of Bulwer-Lytton's plays.
The remnants of a scrapbook of letters assembled by Louis H. DeRosset for his daughter, Gabrielle, document their London years, including letters of Edward Bulwer Lytton. Gabrielle apparently added letters to her father's collection.
Primarily legal papers concerning land transactions, including deeds, indentures, surveys, and land grants; slave bills of sale; wills and estate papers; military commissions, several signed by William Blathwayt, 1690s; and miscellaneous receipts and accounts. Of particular note are several French documents, including a marriage contract dated 18 February 1671 and a deed of emancipation for a Charleston, S.C., slave, 1817.
Financial and legal volumes include a slave record that lists births and deaths of DeRosset family slaves from 1770 to 1854. Also included is Marie DeRosset's book of household accounts and expenses in England, 1869-1870.
Included in this series are the diary, June-September 1798, of Catherine Fullerton in Charleston, S.C., about everyday social and domestic activities; two journals of Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset concerning people and activities during a visit to England and France, 1865-1866; and 18 journals, 1885-1936, of Gabrielle DeRosset Waddell containing accounts of her daily life and travels. Catherine Fullerton's diary contains commentary on the marriages of many of her friends and acquaintances. Eliza Lord DeRosset's journals consist of a volume of sketchy notes and a neater and more complete account of her visits to London and Paris. Gabrielle DeRosset Waddell's diaries are primarily lists of people seen and daily activities, with little or no narrative or commentary.
Miscellaneous items, including records of the Nine-Penny Whist Club of Wilmington, a society organized by Armand John DeRosset Sr., include membership lists, minutes, and resolutions. Writings consist of poems, speeches, and historical essays written by various DeRosset family members and others. The Civil War narrative describes blockade running activities in Wilmington. The autobiographies of Armand John DeRosset Sr. and Jr. contain information that may not be readily documented elsewhere in the collection. Colonial Dames and United Daughters of the Confederacy materials include minutes of meetings, speeches, and other information collected by Gabrielle DeRosset Waddell, who also collected most of the genealogical information and conducted research for a book about Saint James Episcopal Church in Wilmington.
"Uncle Moro" (Omeroh) the African (or Arab) Prince whom General Owen bought, and who lived in Wilmington, N.C. for many years, and died in Bladen County in 1864, aged about 90 years. Reverse of this image contains holograph reminiscences of A. M. Waddell about Omar, written in 1905. Also included is a published autobiography.
London studio portrait, found among the collected letters of L. H. and Marie DeRosset.
A travel diary belonging to Moses John DeRosset, documenting a trip to western Europe, July-August 1854, and including a map of Switzerland; an autograph album belonging to Moses John DeRosset containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates, 1855-1863; and an autograph album belonging to Adelaide S. Meares containing autographs and quotes from schoolmates at the Patapsco Female Institute in Maryland, 1856. Also included in the addition are a diploma from the Patapsco Female Institute belonging to Adelaide S. Meares, 1856; a certificate of honor from the University of the City of New York belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1859; two medical degrees belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1860; a medical certificate from the state of North Carolina belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1876; and a certificate of membership from the Medical Society of the City and County of New York belonging to Moses John DeRosset, 1878.
|Oversize Paper Folder OP-214/2|
|Extra Oversize Paper X-OP-214/14|
Processed by: Lisa Tolbert, December 1992
Encoded by: Bari Helms, February 2005
Updated by: Margaret Dickson, July 2007
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the national Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top